New Hampshire Primary Election Results: Bernie Sanders Grabs Early Lead But Youth Vote Sinks To 12 Percent

Bernie Sanders has claimed that he can drive up voter turnout among 18- to 29-year-olds, but in New Hampshire on Tuesday, the opposite happened.

Bernie Sanders pumps his fist.
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Bernie Sanders has claimed that he can drive up voter turnout among 18- to 29-year-olds, but in New Hampshire on Tuesday, the opposite happened.

With 42 percent of the vote from Tuesday’s New Hampshire Democratic primary reporting, about an hour after the 8 p.m. EST poll closing time, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders appeared to be pulling away, opening up a four percentage-point lead over former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, according to results posted by CNN. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, despite a fifth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses eight days earlier, appeared to be headed for a surprising third-place finish.

Sanders was leading with 27.8 percent of the vote shortly after 9 p.m., compared to 23.5 percent for Buttigieg. Klobuchar was holding steady at 19.7 percent.

But in what could be a troubling sign for Sanders, who has banked on his ability to turn out the youth vote, only 12 percent of New Hampshire voters were between the ages of 18 and 29, according to a Washington Post exit poll. That number is down from 19 percent in 2016 when Sanders faced eventual Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

In 2016, Sanders won more than 80 percent of the under-30 vote. But according to the exit poll published by The Post, he appears to the preference of 53 percent of 18- to 29-year-old voters in 2020. Buttigieg captured 18 percent of the youth vote, with Klobuchar and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren taking six percent each among the under-30 turnout.

NBC News offers live coverage of the New Hamshire Primary election results in the video below.

Perhaps the most significant news of the night to come out of the New Hampshire primary results was the free fall of former Vice President Joe Biden, who held what appeared to be a comfortable lead through most of 2019 and also consistently polled well ahead of Donald Trump in head-to-head matchups.

But in the early results, Biden appeared unable to even come close to meeting the 15 percent delegate threshold, with just 8.6 percent in fifth place. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren appeared headed to a fourth-place finish with 9.5 percent, also leaving her little hope of coming out of the state with any delegates to show for her efforts.

According to the Post exit poll, the age group with the best turnout was the 45- to 64-year-old group, which made up 38 percent of the electorate — nearly four of every 10 voters. In that group, Klobuchar and Buttigieg tied at 24 percent, with Sanders dragging behind at 17 percent. Biden took 12 percent of the 45-64 vote.

Warren conceded her defeat early in the evening, as quoted by CNN, but rather than singling out Sanders, she congratulated Klobuchar “for showing just how wrong the pundits can be when they count a woman out.”

Klobuchar was also the winner among voters who hold a college degree, according to the Post exit poll, with 28 percent. Sanders and Buttigieg each took 22 percent of the college-educated vote.

But among those voters who have no college degree, Sanders emerged victorious with 29 percent. Buttigieg scored 23 percent of non-college educated voters, according to the exit poll, while Klobuchar took only 14 percent.

Buttigieg also benefitted the most from voters who made up their minds how to cast their ballots just in the last few days, with 28 percent of the last-minute deciders picking the 38-year-old former mayor. Among voters who knew who they were going to vote for more than a few days ago, Sanders came out on top at 34 percent, according to the exit poll.